Wednesday, March 23, 2011

900 miles, meet zero miles

I bought new shoes.

900 miles, meet zero miles.

They should look the same. Once again, I went with Asics Hyperspeed 3s. Why fix what ain't broken?

I purchased the shoes at Marathon Sports in Minneapolis, and I was lucky to get a pair. Asics recently came out with the Hyperspeed 4s, and drastic changes can occur between models rending the new version unusable.

The 4s eliminated the seams on the outsides of the toes. As far as I could tell, this was the only change that was made to the updated model and it was the only change the staff person mentioned to me when I asked about differences.

I went with a size 8 instead of a size 8.5. Two reasons - one practical, one functional. First, the store did not have 8.5s in stock; they only had 8s and 9s. Second, I have been running (almost) all of my miles this year in a thin liner sock. It is the only combination of running shoe and sock that I have found that does not give me blisters over any period of time. (Prior combinations elicited blisters in a certain spot and/or after 10 or so miles.)

First impression: the shoes are cushy, a lot more padded than I remember them being two years ago. Nonetheless, I took them out for their first run on March 14. They ran like flats do - midfoot striking and quick, light steps are mandatory. The sizing was a bit of a crunch at the beginning and I worried about toenail fatalities. But the shoes appeared to stretch a little bit as I worked them in and I expect no issues with normal road use. Trails are another story.

Eventually, the padding will flatten and a hard sole will emerge. Such is the state of my current flats, and at that point they will be fully broken in (some would say needing to be replaced.) I plan to run in them one workout per week starting this week, and add one additional workout each week after that. This gives me about 10 weeks or 55 workouts until they are taking over full-time, and by that time I should be running the Superior Trail Races Spring 50K and have 300+ miles on them.

Finally, I expect these shoes to last between 1,500 and 2000 miles - if not more. My current models have 900+ miles on them and the holes in the uppers only appeared in earnest after I ran over snow-covered trails. Compacted snow is sharp, and I believe some of my postholing steps did the damage. I won't be running any such trails with this pair, so I fully expect to finish the season with them.

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